Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When Inspiration Strikes… Use Caution If Operating Heavy Equipment

The Oregon Coast - Where I'd like to be whenever Inspiration strikes!

This is not necessarily a post on “Finding Inspiration,” or how to get the creative juices flowing, but rather what it’s like when you’re walking along and KAPOW! It knocks you upside the head and demands your attention. (I promise that if I ever figure out how to actually find it on demand, you’ll be the first to know.)

As a writer, I would say I have a fairly healthy imagination, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always spitting out the ideas when and where I need it to. Unfortunately, inspiration does not always come in a nice, pretty package tied up with string. It does not always wait patiently for your convenience. Like when you are finally ready to sit down for your appointed writing time, waiting while you pour your coffee and get comfy at your desk. That would be too easy, right?

No, inspiration usually comes when you are least prepared. Like when you are in the shower, mid-wash and instead of a writing utensil, you have a loofa and a hand full of body wash and if you don’t write it down or tell someone immediately, all those brilliant thoughts or witty dialogue might just flow out of your mind and slide right down the drain along with your tangerine soap bubbles. OH! Watch out…yep, there they go. If you don’t have a personal assistant (i.e. spouse, roommate, child who can read/write) you might just have to run out of the shower to the nearest piece of paper, dripping water and all.

Maybe it’s when you are driving your kids to school and you get an idea or an answer to a troubling plot hole and suddenly you tune out the giggles and screams from the back seat and drive right on by the exit you’ve taken every day since school started. What then?! Grab the phone recorder and barf it out while it is still fresh. (You’re already going to be a few minutes late, what’s two more?!)

As a writer, I’ve learned that inspiration can be fleeting and elusive company to keep and usually has a “Don’t call me, I’ll call you” kind of attitude. When it strikes, you have no choice but to listen or risk losing it forever. Do what you can to hang on to it. Write it down on the back of a receipt, phone a friend, record it on a voice recorder, and keep a notebook next to your bed for middle of the nights thoughts.

These are a few things that happen in the life of this writer. What are some of the crazier moments you’ve been struck by inspiration for a new/current WIP and did you manage to keep hold of it?

P.S. If you find yourself looking for inspiration, hop in the shower or take a long drive. Just don’t be on a time constraint and keep a pen and paper close by.

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